Having told us to be careful about what we treasure and where we lay the booty, Jesus turns to the subject of anxiety. It seems natural that Jesus should do this. It’s hard to be at peace when your treasures are under threat from rust, mould and theft. Anxiety also makes generosity and joy difficult.
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25)
What Jesus has to say here can be thought of as armour and as a defence against a crippling enemy, for that is what anxiety is: Crippling.
The anxious person asks, “How can I keep my increase safe from decay, rust and theft?” The one who has entrusted himself and all that he has to God is free to ask, “What can I give away for the increase of others?”
In my home, the anxiety usually kicks in because I am wrestling between the things I want to do and the things I have actually been given to do—my responsibilities.
According to Jesus, there is more to life than meets the eye. You and your life are more than food and clothing. Anxiety is the predictable result of trusting in money and the things money can buy because they are so uncertain. But you are more than these things.
And so, our first defence against anxiety is the knowledge that in Christ you are immortal.
That’s why Jesus says in Luke 12:4, “Don’t fear those whose best efforts can only kill the body.” You are made up of more than they can kill. More than anyone can take away.
There is something worse than death, and it can’t happen to you in Christ. This is the first piece of good news. Rest, rejoice.
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The next piece of good news is that your Heavenly Father runs the universe.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26)
God has left witnesses lying around all over the place that testify of His care for you and the testimony is this: God runs the universe. He feeds the sparrows and spins a robe for every lily. And you, says Jesus, are of more value than they.
Not only does this bring us comfort in our affliction, but it also allows us to soldier on in the face of those who would afflict us.
Your anxiety isn’t capable of changing the course of life’s events (Matthew 6:27). But take heart, God is near to those who call out to Him. He knows every fear, every anxiety and every need you have. And He is ever-present to hold you up and stand you on your feet.
This has enormous implications. One of those implications is that your anxiety is, in fact, a comment about the reliability of your Father (Matthew 6:31-32)
“Oh, you of little faith…” Why? Because a life of anxiety implies that either God is indifferent, unable or unaware. And if that were true then you have found yourself to be an orphan; Fatherless and without hope (Matthew 6:32)
But we are not orphans. God cares. God is able and God knows. He knows we need the basics.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33)
Why seek His Kingdom and His righteousness first? Because His Kingdom is eternal and His righteousness is more beautiful and more valuable than food and clothing.
In Matthew 6:34, Jesus provides us with a final weapon with which to fight anxiety. That weapon is today. Each day has its own cares and we are here promised for supply to meet those cares.
Tomorrow is a reason for Christian hope as each tomorrow edges us nearer to our Lord. For the unbeliever, each tomorrow means edging closer to the cliffs of despair. For that one, tomorrow is the accumulation of greater loss.
Jesus knew anxiety and knows how best to fight it and so we would be wise to put these truths in our armoury as we pursue His righteousness.